Why Water Quality Matters
Population growth, residential and industrial development, and the resulting demands on our landscape and waterways have led to water quality and quantity concerns throughout South Carolina. Currently, more than 1150 of our lakes, rivers and creeks have been listed as impaired by the state’s Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC). Yet, clean and plentiful water are critical to maintain life.
What Affects Water Quality
Water quality is impacted by pollution sources which can be categorized as point and nonpoint sources of pollution. Point source pollution can be traced back to one source - a pipe such as one which discharges from an industrial or wastewater treatment plant. Non point source pollution is discrete in nature - it includes runoff from land surfaces and atmospheric deposition. The Clean Water Act initially addressed point sources of pollution. Phase II of the Act addresses non point sources of pollution including stormwater runoff.
Impacts of Stormwater
Stormwater is water that runs off of the land, generated by precipitation, snow melt, or even irrigation, and all the pollutants that this runoff picks up as it makes its way to lower points in the landscape - typically rivers, streams, lakes, and estuaries. Some stormwater flows over the land; other times, it's piped out to the stream. Stormwater is not treated by a treatment plant, and therefore, it is considered to be the number one threat to our water resources.
To find out more about how you can become a solution to stormwater pollution, visit our "What You Can Do To Prevent Stormwater Pollution" webpage!
SC Stormwater Rules
South Carolina recently passed federal legislation to manage stormwater through a permitting process which is administered by the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control. The stormwater rules require all construction sites of one acre or more, many industrial sites, and all regulated Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s) to obtain a permit. More information about SC's municipal stormwater rules can be found here.
Carolina Clear currently works with MS4s to effectively address two of the six requirements of the federal mandate:
1. Public education and outreach
2. Public participation and involvement.